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'Ducks Notebook: Mitch Brown finding consistency

A streaky week took place for the Akron RubberDucks as they won two games in a row before dropping three of their last four contests by margins of three runs or less. The IBI's Daniel Sherriff recaps the action in his latest 'Ducks Notebook...

It was a mixed week for the Akron RubberDucks.  First, they ended their homestand on a high note by winning the last two games.  Despite hitting the ball well and scoring a lot of runs in their three-game series against the Hartford Yard Goats, the pitching wasn’t able to hold up, leading to a sweep.  The team picked up another victory when they rebounded from the Hartford series by taking the first game of a four-game series against the Altoona Curve.

The ‘Ducks seek to end their road trip on a high note by attempting to sweep the Curve in the next three games before they return to Akron to host the Bowie Baysox in a four-game series at Canal Park, including a contest on Memorial Day.

Week In Review

  • 5/16: Akron 6, Richmond 1: (WP: Pasquale, 3-2; LP: Coonrad, 1-4)
  • 5/17: Akron 7, Richmond 5: (WP: Lugo, 3-1; LP: Lujan, 1-3)
  • 5/19: Hartford 8, Akron 7: (WP: Brazoban, 1-0; LP: Baker, 0-1)
  • 5/20: Hartford 6, Akron 5: (WP: French, 3-3; LP: Pannone, 0-1)
  • 5/21: Hartford 5, Akron 2: (WP: Neiman, 2-1; LP: Pasquale, 3-3)
  • 5/22: Altoona 3, Akron 4: (WP: Speer, 1-1; LP: Heredia, 1-2)

Player of the Week

Mitch Brown, RP

Last week: 0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0.600 WHIP

Season to date: 0-1, 16.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 10 G, 9 H, 4 R/ER, 10 BB, 17 SO, 1.188 ERA

Slowly but surely, the newly converted reliever is becoming one of the most reliable options out of the bullpen for the Akron RubberDucks.  What has plagued him throughout his entire career is the lack of command and control on his pitches, something he seems to be figuring out as of late.  He had gone four straight games without walking a batter until his last outing earlier in the week.

“His command has just been so much better.  It starts with his fastball and everything works off of that,” notes Akron RubberDucks skipper Mark Budzinski.

Brown has always possessed a live fastball but has struggled to build any consistency off it.  His sudden ability to command his pitches makes him one of the most dangerous pitchers to come out of the bullpen.

Who's Hot

Bobby Bradley, 1B

Last week: 3 G, 12 PA, 5 R, 6 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, .600/.667/1.000

Season to date: 36 G, 144 PA, 17 R, 28 H, 4 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 20 BB, 38 SO, .231/.340/.455

The big slugger was able to come back after suffering a sprained middle finger on his hand.  He showed no effects in his recent performance as he hit for both power and average in the past week.  Something that should be noted is that although Bradley will always strike out a lot, he possesses a keen eye at the plate and is able to work the count full and make the pitcher work.  That will be a valuable skill as he continues to develop and mature as a player.

Yu Chang, SS

Last week: 5 G, 21 PA, 3 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO, .286/.286/.810

Season to date: 38 G, 153 PA, 20 R, 28 H, 7 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 21 RBI, 13 BB, 49 SO, .207/.289/.489

The free-swinging right-hander had a good week.  He picked up a few more strikeouts but was also able to square up on the ball and drive it with authority.  He looks to be the kind of hitter whom is not afraid to go up there and take big hacks at the ball.  The upside is that if a pitcher makes a mistake, he’ll have no problem parking the ball out of the ballpark with his raw power.

Dorssys Paulino, OF

Last week: 5 G, 21 PA, 4 R, 7 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SO, .467/.571/.733

Season to date: 35 G, 137 PA, 18 R, 29 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 21 BB, 32 SO, .257/.375/.782

It has been arguably one of the best weeks for the outfielder in his first season at the Double-A level.  The Indians have always liked his maturity as a player and approach to the game.  He’s always ready to play and showed some nice stuff this past week.  He showed both power and patience, leading to some whopping numbers at the plate.  Once regarded as a top prospect in the organization, Paulino is slowly putting himself back on the map with his consistency.

Who's Not

Thomas Pannone, SP

Last week: 1 GS, 0-1, 8,44 ERA, 5.1 IP, 6 H. 6 R/ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1.500 WHIP

Season to date: 8 GS, 2-1, 1.11 ERA, 40.2 IP, 25 H, 7 R/5 ER, 2 HR, 12 BB, 52 SO, 0.910 WHIP

This is the first time the southpaw has struggled in the 2017 season.  Up until his last outing, he had been dominant in every fashion.  He finally hit a wall and the results were not pretty.  The key for him is to figure out why he struggled in his last outing and try to apply those adjustments in his next outing.

Dylan Baker, RP

Last week: 1 G, 0-1, 27.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO, 3.000 WHIP

Season to date: 6 G, 4.50 ERA, 0-1, 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R/ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1.167 WHIP

The hard-throwing righty is not having any trouble with velocity.  Rather, he’s having trouble locating his pitches.  While he hasn’t walked a batter, he’s leaving his pitches up in the zone and allowing opposing hitters to barrel up and drive the ball.  Baker is still getting back into the swing of things after coming back from Tommy John surgery.  It will be interesting to see how he continues to rediscover his stuff as the season progresses.

Tyler Krieger, 2B

Last week: 5 G, 23 PA, 2 R, 4 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 7 SO, .182/.217/.273

Season to date: 35 G, 148 PA, 17 R, 31 H, 12 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 9 SB, 14 BB, 29 SO, .238/.310/.400

The middle infielder struggled mightily this week.  He is not seeing the ball well and having difficulty making contact.  He’s trying to act as the temporary leadoff hitter with Greg Allen on the DL (hamate bone fracture).  Right now, things are not looking bright for Krieger but he’s going to have to keep at it.  He has advanced hitting skills as he has shown the ability to go the other way and take what the pitcher is giving him.

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